Monday, October 25, 2010

Quote for the Day

Throughout the New Testament, the only kind of people with whom Jesus consistently took frightful exception were the very “teachers of the law and Pharisees” we see him dressing down in the passages above. One thing that often gets lost in our considerations of Jesus is the degree to which he is exactly the wrong person to piss off. And you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the New Testament before you understand that the only kind of people who seem to ever truly anger him are those who put religious dogma above what he most stood for, which was God’s compassionate will.

...

I’m not exactly sure how we came to so often consider Jesus-formerly-known-as-The-Carpenter as a kind of a soft, dreamy, namby-pamby sort. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) But it’s hard to believe it was from the accounts of Jesus we have in the Gospels. That’s just not the guy on those pages.

Jesus is scary when he’s riled. And the only people who rile him are those who, in His name, set themselves up as sanctimonious judgers of others.

John Shore, johnshore.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quote for Today

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, God wants us to get to know him, too? Is it possible that God is more interested in us learning about who he really is than us memorizing a list of things to do and things to avoid doing? If we believe–and this is no small thing–that God really does love us, that he wants to be our only lover, don’t you think he wants us to get to know his personality, and not just his rules? Joe Spann said something to me several years ago that still rattles my cage to this day. “Following Jesus,” he said, “is a lot less like getting all the answers right on a quiz, and a lot more like having a wild affair with the teacher.” Well, that teacher is Jesus. He wants to have a fling with us that will last into eternity. And he wants us to know him as he truly is, not as we box him up in our narrow view from Scriptures to be.
Jeff Dunn at internetmonk.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Couple of Great Quotes for Today

Let’s pray, most. Did God call us to preach without ceasing? Or teach without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? Or sing without ceasing? No, but he did call us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

Did Jesus declare: My house shall be called a house of study? Fellowship? Music? A house of exposition? A house of activities? No, but he did say, “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17 NIV).
(Max Lucado, Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference)
It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression “As pretty as an airport.” Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort. This ugliness arises because airports are full of people who are tired, cross, and have just discovered that their luggage has landed in Murmansk (Murmansk airport is the only know exception to this otherwise infallible rule), and architects have on the whole tried to reflect this in their designs.
They have sought to highlight the tiredness and crossness motif with brutal shapes and nerve-jangling colors, to make effortless the business of separating the traveler forever from his or her luggage or loved ones, to confuse the traveler with arrows that appear to point a the windows, distant tie racks, or the current position of Ursa Minor in the night sky, and wherever possible to expose the plumbing on the grounds that it is functional, and conceal the location of the departure gates, presumably on the grounds that they are not.
(Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul)

A Couple of Great Quotes Today!

Let’s pray, most. Did God call us to preach without ceasing? Or teach without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? Or sing without ceasing? No, but he did call us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
Did Jesus declare: My house shall be called a house of study? Fellowship? Music? A house of exposition? A house of activities? No, but he did say, “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17 NIV).
(Max Lucado, Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference)
 
It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression “As pretty as an airport.” Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort. This ugliness arises because airports are full of people who are tired, cross, and have just discovered that their luggage has landed in Murmansk (Murmansk airport is the only know exception to this otherwise infallible rule), and architects have on the whole tried to reflect this in their designs.
 
They have sought to highlight the tiredness and crossness motif with brutal shapes and nerve-jangling colors, to make effortless the business of separating the traveler forever from his or her luggage or loved ones, to confuse the traveler with arrows that appear to point a the windows, distant tie racks, or the current position of Ursa Minor in the night sky, and wherever possible to expose the plumbing on the grounds that it is functional, and conceal the location of the departure gates, presumably on the grounds that they are not.
(Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

God is So Good!

Funny thing just happened. I tried to type the title of this post, and mis-typed. Almost got "God is God." Of course, that is true, but not what I intended to say today!

We now resume our regularly schedule programming...

Today has been a very surprising day for me, and I give all the credit to God. I awoke on-time, and after a quick shower, I was feeling quite energized (after less sleep than I would have liked). I got the last blueberry muffin for breakfast at the coffee shop.

Then I started class. Today was all "devotional messages" by the students. Twelve talks, 10 minutes each, plus a review discussion of each. I was slotted to talk eleventh. The talks were incredible. And I was scared. While I was confident in the message I wanted to communicate, I was not confident in my presentation of it. It was primarily my own fault, most likely caused by insufficient preparation. But the time had arrived, so I went forward with little more than a prayer to support me.

My talk went very well, I thought. And my professor seemed to agree. Thank God!

I then had a very nice discussion after class with a few fellow students and my professor. The time of fellowship was very appreciated. Plus, I got some confirmation about my approach to a decision I am about to make. Such a blessing.

Finally, it was time to head to the airport. I was not worried about the travel, but a little disappointed that I would be getting home after my daughter went to bed. But I figured God could handle safe and expedient travel for me and a low-stress evening for my wife and daughter.

Then, on my first flight, I heard that there was an earlier flight to Houston that I might be able to take. I prayed that God's will be done with regards to getting me home, nothing more.

When I got to Charlotte and the gate for the earlier flight to Houston, the area was packed. There was also an ominous (for me) sign the said "No Seat Changes Available." Usually means a full flight. Something inside said to ask anyway.

I asked the gate agent if there was a chance of getting on the flight. He said, "Well, it's pretty full, but I might be able to get you on stand-by." When he punched in my information, the system automatically gave me a seat. We were both surprised!

So, it looks now like I will be able to get home tonight in time to tuck my daughter into bed. And I will get to spend some time with my wife before we go to sleep. And I had a good day in class. This has been a great day.

And I can only give the praise to God.

Yep, God if Good!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ann Rice's definition of "Christian"

Ann Rice says she can't be a Christian any longer.

Since everyone else is responding, I will also.

I don't care.

Good luck to you, Ann. If I ever meet you, I will be happy to talk to you about whatever you desire. And if you want to "follow Christ" without being a "Christian," well, good luck.

Me, I will try to be a "little Christ" (i. e. "Christian") regardless of what anyone else has to say about it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Time of Prayer

It seems that the last week for me has had a recurring theme, and not a positive one.  That theme is sickness. 

I have been fine.  However, I have family and friends who are not doing so well.  This illness has taken its toll on me, and I have broken down in tears.  What I can I do?  I can pray.

Interestingly, when I sought something from Scripture to ease my pain and call peace upon my family and friends, I did not find the lamentation that I really wanted.  See, I was looking for something to which I could point and say, “See, I am not the only one who feels this way!  This person also called upon God to complain about illness!”

What I expected to find was the isolation, fear, and frustration at the beginning of Psalm 6.  “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;/ O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.// My soul also is struck with terror, while you, O Lord – how long?” (Psalm 6: 2-3, NRSV). 

But how does the Psalmist continue?  “Turn, O Lord, save my life;/ deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.// For in death there is no remembrance of you;/ in Sheol who can give you praise?” (Ps. 6:4-5).

This isn’t about me or my friends and family who are sick.  It is still about God!  The psalmist wants to be saved so that his praise will not be interrupted!

That doesn’t mean that God won’t bless us.  “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,/ which cannot be moved, but abides forever.// As the mountains surround Jerusalem,/ so the Lord surrounds his people,/ from this time on and forevermore.//…// Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,/ and to those who are upright in their hearts.”  (Ps. 125: 1-2, 4)  That is a great promise!

I also found Psalm 97, which concludes, “The Lord loves those who hate evil;/ he guards the lives of his faithful;/ he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.// Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.// Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,/ and give thanks to his holy name!”

We are to rejoice in the Lord because he has promised us great things, even if we can’t see those things today.  Or even tomorrow.  Or even if we can’t understand what we do see.  The Lord will keep his promises of blessing.

Our job is to praise and rejoice in His love, and trust Him to act in His way and His time.

Praise be to God!